Sperm oxidative stress and the effect of an oral vitamin E and selenium supplement on semen quality in infertile men

Arch Androl. 2003 Mar-Apr;49(2):83-94. doi: 10.1080/01485010390129269.


Numerous studies have reported beneficial effects of antioxidant drugs on semen quality, but there is no well-defined therapeutical protocol in male infertility. This study aimed to test the effects of vitamin E and selenium supplementation on lipid peroxidation and on sperm parameters. The study included 54 voluntary and infertile men who produced semen samples for spermiogram and for spectrophotometric measurement of a lipid peroxidation marker, the malondialdehyde (MDA), and produced blood samples for high-performance liquid chromatography assessment of serum vitamin E level. The trial was randomized and open. Twenty-eight men were supplemented daily by vitamin E (400 mg) and selenium (225 microg), during 3 months. The remaining 26 patients received vitamin B (4,5 g/day) for the same duration. Only 20 patients achieved their treatment and returned for control analysis. MDA concentrations in sperm were much less than in seminal plasma and motility and viability were inversely correlated with semen MDA levels. In contrast to vitamin B supplementation, vitamin E and selenium supplementation produced a significant decrease in MDA concentrations and an improvement of sperm motility. The results confirm the protective and beneficial effects of vitamin E and selenium on semen quality and advocate their use in male infertility treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diet therapy*
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Selenium / administration & dosage*
  • Semen / drug effects*
  • Semen / metabolism
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*
  • Spermatozoa / physiology
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin E / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Selenium